66: French Team Captain Pierre Dagen Balances Power & Consistency for Ultimate Results
Pierre Dagen is a 28 year old French entrepreneur who has been playing Magic: The Gathering since about 2006. His first Pro Tour was Paris 2011, and since then he has scored 3 Grand Prix Top 8s and a Pro Tour Top 8, as well as making it to the Top 4 of the World Magic Cup in 2015 as the captain of team France. Formerly a founding member of team Revolution, he is now part of team EUreka.
Local Magic Scene: Paris, France
With about 90% of French pro players living in Paris the scene is very competitive.
What makes Magic: The Gathering fun for you?
While Pierre likes chess and sees the similarities to Magic, he felt that chess could be a bit mechanical. The complexity, strategy, and need to enter your opponent’s head are major draws that keep him playing Magic. Pierre notes how Magic has allowed him to travel a lot more than he usually would, which has allowed him to meet a ton of great people.
Pierre had trouble building his decks early on. He tried to do this on his own without consulting friends or any other players. At some point Pierre says he humbled himself, and asked for help and feedback from other teams.
Level Up Moment
Pierre attributes a major level up in his game to the first time he joined a team. This allowed him to playtest twice a week in sets of 10-20 matches with teammates that were better than him. The team helped his Magic mindset evolve from just wanting to have fun, to playing each turn as if he was solving a puzzle and finding a solution to the match.
Proudest Magic Moment
This came for Pierre at the World Magic Cup in Barcelona where Team France made it to the Top 4. Pierre only knew one player on his team, and had just met the other two. This led them to think that they wouldn’t do that great, but they were all surprised at how well they were able to perform together.
Heaviest Magic Moment
Pro Tour Montreal: Pierre was invited for coming close to qualifying. He entered the tournament stressed out, believing he needed to prove himself worthy of being there. His bad memories of the tournament stem from him not believing he was a good player and losing a lot. He forgot that his first goal should have been to have fun, so after he lost his last match all he wanted to do was go back to France.
What Has Magic Taught You About Yourself?
Over the course of Pierre’s Magic career he learned that he can have a lazy approach to playing. When he first started, he would go into matches just to have fun and ride out games instead of trying his hardest. He thought that you needed to be a genius to be great at Magic. But when others asked him for advice he found that if thought about it hard enough he could usually figure out a solution to their problem. This led to him trying his hardest on every turn and let him see that anyone can be really good at Magic if they put the effort in.
Biggest Mistake Players Make
Pierre sees a good number of players that are overly optimistic about their deck. They only think of the good things that will happen with their cards, and don’t consider the situations where everything falls apart on the next turn, or 3-4 turns out. Player should always be thinking about how the match will go wrong in order to prepare for when things go right.
Sealed & Draft Tips
Draft: Pierre thinks it’s important to remember that you need a bit of everything in your deck. It needs to be coherent while not focusing on one specific area that might end up sinking your deck.
Sealed: One of the keys to sealed is balancing power and consistency. Deciding if you are leaning towards one end of that spectrum or the other should be a constant thought.
How to Effectively Prepare for a Big Event
Have a deck that you like and play it a lot—don’t try to come up with one the day before a tournament. Remember, there’s no surefire way to prepare against every player’s deck. Playing one deck, playing it a lot, and playing it against lots of other decks is a good way to get comfortable with tournament play.
What’s in Your Tournament Bag
What Does a Group Play Session Look Like?
Pierre’s play tests usually consist of two deck groups: a group of decks everyone on the team likes to play, and a group of decks that are known to be at a specific event. They will play matches with all combinations from both deck groups, compare results, and revamp their decks.
Pierre wants to hammer home that a Magic player shouldn’t be lazy. You should treat Magic in such a way that every turn is a puzzle, and it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but you should always be trying to solve the succession of puzzles to the best of your ability.
Connect With Pierre Dagen
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